I have stressed in previous blogs about the importance of carrying both travel insurance and a passport while on a cruise vacation. An article on Yahoo’s travel page yesterday about a couple who cruised very recently without the benefit of either passport or insurance is a perfect example of what can happen if travelers don’t prepare for the unexpected.
The couple were on a three-night cruise to the Bahamas when a sudden and serious illness necessitated a visit to the cruise ship doctor while the ship was docked in Nassau. The medical facility was unsuccessful in treating her and sent her to a nearby Nassau hospital. Her only insurance, unfortunately, was Medicare, which the hospital didn’t accept. Moreover, in order to be seen, the guest needed to fork over $2,000 in cash. To make a long story short, the woman was eventually seen and tested, and advised to fly home for surgery.
However, this presented a second problem. The ship had already left Nassau by the time the woman was released from the hospital. The couple had very little cash and no money to fly home. Even if they did, they had no passports. While a passport is not required for a cruise beginning and ending in the same U.S. port, one is absolutely required for air travel.
As of this writing, the couple is still stranded in Nassau and hoping, with the help of a GoFundMe page, assistance from the cruise line and wire transfers from friends at home, that they will be able to settle up with the hospital in Nassau and fly home soon.
There are two very important lessons here. One, always expect the worst and don’t rely on your health insurance when traveling out of the country, especially if on a fixed income and only carry Medicare. Secondly, spend the money and get a passport, even if you think you would never need it.
For the full article, visit: Yahoo Lifestyle